Bulibasha: King of the Gypsies

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Penguin Books (NZ) Limited, 1994 - Families - 293 pages
11 Reviews
Bulibasha is the title given to the King of the Gypsies, and on the East Coast of New Zealand two patriarchs fight to be proclaimed the king.
Tamihana is the leader of the great Mahana family of shearers and sportsmen and women. Rupeni Poata is his arch enemy. The two families clash constantly, in sport, in cultural contests and, finally, in the Golden Fleece competition to find the greatest shearing gang in New Zealand. Caught in the middle of this struggle is the teenager Simeon, grandson of the patriarch and of his grandmother Ramona, struggling with his own feelings and loyalties as the battles rage on many levels.
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User Review  - gmillar - LibraryThing

Simply Maori. I loved the rawness of this story. There wasn't much of the post-pakeha cultural change left out of this 1950s story. I lived in New Zealand at this time and I was about the same age as ... Read full review

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it was not that good lol. not interesting in the slightest but you know.. it was what it was... boring. VERY INAPPROPRIATE on page 271 when Witi talks about getting raped. it was disgusting as i am only 8. what kind of example are you trying to set!?


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About the author (1994)

Born in the countryside of New Zealand into a Maori family of Mormons, Witi Ihimaera is not only a major writer but a diplomat as well. He began his career in the foreign service in 1976 and served, among other posts, as New Zealand consul-general in New York. After completing a B.A. in English, Ihimaera worked as a journalist in New Zealand and, describing himself as a "compulsive storyteller," started writing fiction. In 1982 he coedited an anthology of Maori writing, Into the World of Light, and continues to be a champion of literature in English by Maoris. In retrospect, Ihimaera describes his first collection of short stories, Pounamu (1972), as Songs of Innocence; this subtitle applies as well to his two early novels, Tangi (1973) and Whanau (1974). These three books are filled with romantic images of a childhood spent in the security of the extended Maori family, offering what Ihimaera calls a "landscape of the heart." But in 1975 winds of change swept the Maori community as political awareness grew. Reflecting that change, the collection of Ihimaera's short fiction that appeared in 1976, The New Net Goes Fishing, moves out of the earlier work's Eden into a violent and disruptive world. Dear Miss Mansfield (1989), a group of stories about Maori life, uses the postmodernist technique of rewriting or responding to an earlier text---in this instance, some of the short fiction by New Zealand's most famous writer, Katherine Mansfield. Described as a contentious work, The Matriarch (1986) marks a dramatic departure from Ihimaera's earlier novels. Here the sweet memories of childhood have been discarded for a confrontational view of the Maori role in modern society. To a degree, a survey of Ihimaera's work is also a survey of the changing attitudes in New Zealand society. On the part of both the Maoris (indigenous New Zealanders) and the Pakehas (New Zealanders of European descent), they at last confront openly and honestly the legacy of imperialism to which they are heirs.

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